Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'This Was a Tragedy That Should Not Have Happened ...' Coroner Says Government Has Neglected Its Troops

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'This Was a Tragedy That Should Not Have Happened ...' Coroner Says Government Has Neglected Its Troops

Article excerpt

Byline: By Dan Warburton

A CORONER has accused the Government of neglecting its troops after hearing that just a few blocks of wood would have saved the life of a North soldier crushed beneath a tank he was repairing in Afghanistan.

Lance Corporal Sean Tansey, 26, from Sulgrave Road in Washington, was killed on August 12 2006 when the tank he was servicing collapsed and fell on his head.

At an inquest in Oxford yesterday, coroner Andrew Walker recorded a narrative verdict and said that neglect by the MoD contributed to his death.

Attacking the failures of training and equipment supplies the coroner said: "I cannot begin to imagine the suffering of Lance Corporal Tansey's family. It seems to me that from the beginning they understood that this was a tragedy that should not have happened.

"This court has heard evidence of the failure to provide basic equipment for the maintenance of vehicles, which has been described by one witness as amounting to a gross or serious failure. It is quite unfair that the soldiers should be criticised when their training was not adequate and their equipment was not sufficient. For this reason Lance Corporal Tansey lost his life."

L/Cpl Tansey was working on a Spartan armoured vehicle at a UK base near Sangin, in northern Helmand province of Afghanistan, when the accident happened.

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers expert Lee Hodges told the inquest that if cushioning planks, known as "skiddings", had been used then they would have saved the soldier's life.

The planks would have been piled up underneath the vehicle so that if the machines holding up the Spartan failed, it would have fallen onto a solid base above the height at which L/Cpl Tansey was working. Meanwhile Lance Corporal Edward Sampson, who was helping to repair the tank's broken torsion bar on that day, told the court: "There was a big clunk. The vehicle pitched forwards and Sean's head was underneath it." He said the team had no wooden planks for cushioning any potential vehicle fall, but only "some bits of old pallet" to use instead. When the coroner asked if soldiers could refuse to do repair work on health and safety grounds, L/Cpl Sampson said: "That's not the way the Army works. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.